Middle School Students in Louisville Grow Fresh Fruit and Vegetables

Healthy Eating by Design

Field of Work: Changing local food and nutrition policies and environments for children.

Synopsis of the Work: The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) selected 12 community partnerships participating in its national program Active Living by Design to implement strategies to provide affordable, healthy and appealing food options to children and families by changing local food and nutrition policies and environments. Seven school-based partnerships and five community-based partnerships participated in Health Eating by Design. In Louisville, Tim Baker, a sixth-grade science teacher at Meyzeek Middle School helped to created and advised the school gardening club.

Story Told: The gardening club is responsible for four of the 12 plots in the community garden. It has about 30 members, mostly sixth-graders, who work in the garden every Monday. On other days when the weather is good, the children also can work in the garden.

In the spring and summer of 2006, Meyzeek students grew and picked green beans, squash, corn and a lot of tomatoes. In the fall, they grew cabbages, lettuce, broccoli and cauliflower, using hoop houses to extend the growing season. Over the winter, students began to grow some plants, such as broccoli and tomatoes, from seeds in the classroom.

Baker hopes to grow fruits and vegetables that students can take home to share with their families. He also plans to bring seventh- and eighth-grade students into the garden.